I grew up in the Old Order Mennonite Church/culture. People, who have not grown up in a community where Old Order Mennonites live, look at me quizzically when I say that. I often find myself giving the quick explanation. It’s similar to the Amish. Like the Amish, Old Order Mennonites drive a horse and buggy and wear plain clothing. It's similar and yet to those of us living it... it's very different. We're not Amish. For years I've wanted to share my story and to bring an awareness of Old Order Mennonites to the world. But I’ve wondered: Would anyone actually be interested?
At the age of 23 I chose to leave the Old Order Mennonite Church. I have now lived in mainstream American culture slightly longer than I had lived as an Old Order Mennonite, but I have still not totally figured out where I belong. I am bi-lingual and bi-cultural. I flow in and out of English and Pennsylvania Dutch when I think. I flow in and out of cultural mannerisms depending where I am and who I am with. All people do this to a point. We flow between being our work-self and our home-self, but when culture is added into the mix the concept is taken a step deeper.
My mom’s family developed the tradition of having a family reunion each year that one of them turns fifty. This last summer we celebrated my youngest aunt’s fiftieth birthday. She and I grew up as playmates. I’m not far behind.
There is something about facing ones 50’s that changes a person. Some people refer to it as a mid-life crisis. But instead of buying the proverbial red convertible, my mind began a walk down Memory Lane. Who am I? What culture do I belong to? Where has my life gone? Have I accomplished my dreams? Do I still have the same dreams? Am I truly living or just existing? Who do I want to be when I grow up?This blog is a chronicle of my journey from a little Old Order Mennonite girl to who I am today.